Golf: Britons rally to claw back deficit

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KELLEE BOOTH, Brenda Corrie-Kuehn and Beth Bauer won their singles matches on Saturday to help the United States to a 51/2-31/2 lead over Great Britain and Ireland after the first day of the Curtis Cup.

"I have to admit, I was the most nervous person out there," Barbara McIntire, the US captain, said. "It's easier to be calmer if you have a little bit of a lead. This is not a big lead, believe me."

Great Britain and Ireland closed to within two points when Becky Morgan and Elaine Ratcliffe won the final two matches in the two-day biennial competition at The Minikahda Club course in Minneapolis.

"We finished on a high note," Ita Butler, the visitors' captain, said. "Our players didn't give up, they kept trying. It's great to see that spirit. We're all quite optimistic at this point."

The US Open play-off loser Jenny Chuasiriporn rallied from four holes down to halve her match with the British amateur champion, Rebecca Hudson, who at 19 is the youngest member of the GBI team.

"Jenny is a great golfer," Hudson said. "She had some very good putts."

"I was thinking just one shot at a time," Chuasiriporn said. "I'm glad to halve the match after starting so poorly."

Bauer beat Hillary Monaghan 5 and 3. Booth defeated Kim Rostron 2 and 1, and Corrie-Kuehn beat Alison Rose 3 and 2. In the final two matches, Morgan beat Jo Jo Robertson 2 and 1, and Ratcliffe edged out Carole Semple Thompson 3 and 2.

The United States took a 2-1 lead in the morning foursomes. Corrie-Kuehn and Booth beat Fiona Brown and Karen Stupples 2 and 1, and Virginia Derby- Grimes and Robin Burke beat Rose and Morgan 3 and 2. Rostron and Ratcliffe defeated Bauer and Chuasiriporn one-up.

Great Britain and Ireland won two years ago in Ireland, and have won or drawn in five of the last six meetings. But the United States still lead the series 20 to 6, with three matches drawn.